Odd Bits

On War, the Symposium– Year 2

November 14, 2014

Last week My Own True Love and I attended the Pritzker Military Library’s second annual On War Military History Symposium.  Last year’s symposium blew me away.   Perhaps I’m a little jaded since I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading, writing, and thinking about World Wars I and II, but this year wasn’t quite […]

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Time Traveler Tours and Tales

November 11, 2014

I met Sarah Towle in an on-line class last year.  We were quick to realize that we had interests in common beyond the scope of the class: history, story, travel, and the place where all three meet.  At the time, Sarah was in the process of developing an intriguing form of e-history*:  an interactive travel/story […]

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The Thrill of the Vote

November 4, 2014

This post first ran on election day in 2008. My feelings on the subject haven’t changed: It’s election day in Chicago. I just walked home from voting for a new mayor and a new alderman–and I miss my old neighborhood. For ten years I lived in South Shore: a white graduate student/small business owner/writer in […]

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When You Take A Road Trip Through History, You Need Luggage

October 28, 2014

One of the ways you can tell that your blog is starting to gain an audience* is that you start to get random offers of content from people you don’t know. Most of it is inappropriate (though I was tempted by the gorgeous interactive map of the kingdoms in Game of Thrones). Some of it […]

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In Which I Stop Reading And Start Writing

September 5, 2014

Yesterday I reached that undefinable moment in my current project when it is time to stop reading and start writing. For smaller projects, the moment when I’m ready to make the leap is obvious. Sometimes I reach the point where I’m not learning anything new about my subject. Other times I reach the less satisfactory* […]

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In which I set down my road map and consider the globe

August 26, 2014

My Own True Love and I recently decided to cancel our Great River Road Trip. It was a good decision; our old cat and our old house both require our attention and the Mississippi will still be there come spring. Under the circumstances, it seems appropriate to consider a bigger picture than road signs, road […]

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Salt

August 22, 2014

Anyone who sat through a third grade social studies lesson learned that Europe’s search for pepper changed the world. Prince Henry the Navigator, Columbus, and all that. But did you know that salt played an even bigger role in world history? Unlike pepper, we can’t live without salt. It is as essential to life as […]

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First Known Serial Killer Terrorizes The Slums of London

August 12, 2014

On August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram was stabbed to death in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London–many believe she was the first victim of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.* Between August and November, five more women were murdered within a one-mile radius in London’s East End. All were prostitutes and all but one […]

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A Few WWI Books From the History in the Margins Archives

August 7, 2014

Just in case you missed them the first time around: In The Lost History of 1914, NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” surrounding the beginning of  the war. NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” that surrounds historical accounts of the First […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: The Trung Sisters of Vietnam

August 1, 2014

In 39 CE, two young women led Vietnam in its first rebellion against the Chinese empire, which had then ruled the country for 150 years. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were born in a small town in north Vietnam around 14 CE, the daughters of a Vietnamese lord who served as a prefect under the […]

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